HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One day after tens of thousands of visitors hightailed it out of Hopkinsville after watching the total solar eclipse, residents are cleaning up and making plans to commemorate the historic event. 

Now that the crowds have gone, Hopkinsville is back to being a quiet, quaint town. Emergency manager leaders for the county say the number of people who showed up for the eclipse completely surpassed all their expectations.

Officials say the town of 35,000 was expecting to host about 100,000 visitors, but even more people than that, from all over the globe, turned out for the once-in-a-lifetime event.

Derek Widziszewski, who drove from Pittsburgh to view the event in Hopkinsville, says it was worth it. 

"It's beautiful down here, just the landscape," Widziszewski said. "The people are friendly and nice. We loved every part of this trip. The eclipse obviously was the pinnacle."

Before hitting the road to head home Tuesday, the Widziszewski family stopped for up a few more souvenirs from the county museum, but the trinkets really can't compare to seeing the eclipse in its totality.

"It's much more dramatic and beautiful, and because it's so brief it makes it even more special," Widziszewski said. 

Hillary Sullivan, the director of collections for Museums of Hopkinsville says the eclipse gave the town a chance to show off its heritage. 

"It was very good to see so many people come out and support the community for this event and to visit the museum," Sullivan said. "We were elated to share the story of Christian County with so many people from all over the world."

Sullivan says the museum saw between 500 and 600 visitors over the course of three days -- more than one-quarter of its annual numbers. Now the museum team is putting together an exhibit to honor "Eclipseville."

Sullivan says they're gathering souvenirs, notes, and banners full of signatures that they're putting "into a time capsule and we're going to open it up at every subsequent American eclipse and add to it and kind of review the past," Sullivan said. "So the next time it will be open is April 8, 2024."

Until then, Hopkinsville is thanking its lucky stars for the two minutes and forty seconds of total darkness that put the town on the map. 

"We are all human and I think it was great for our community to be exposed to so many people. And hopefully for them to have a little taste of the south."

If you missed the eclipse or just want to re-live it, you can watch WDRB's coverage right here


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